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Is Your Bedroom Window Dangerous for Your Kids?

Danger of Windows to Kids Header

As a parent, you’re not going to be able to protect your child from every accident, bump, or bruise, no matter how much you’d like to. Children are children, after all: inquisitive, curious, and sometimes too brave for their own good. One type of injury, however, that is not only preventable, but also a parent’s responsibility to ensure it doesn't occur: falls from windows. Every year in the United States there are about 25 deaths a year from falls out a window; 1/3 of these deaths involve children who are under the age of five and 2/3 involve children who are under the age of 10. In addition, more than an additional 4,500 children will suffer other assorted injuries that require some form of medical treatment by falling out windows every year.

Window Falls

  • Toddler Looks Out of Window Facing TreesOpen or unsecured windows are only just one source of injury and death that windows pose, however. The cords from window blinds are also a strangulation hazard. One child every month will die due to accidental strangulation by window cords. Here are some important, necessary precautions to take to protect your child from accidental window injuries and death.

  • If you use a screen in a window, never assume it will stop a child from falling out a window. Screens are designed to keep insects and loose debris from entering through a window – nothing more. They are not designed to hold the weight of even a small child. If a child pushes against a screen, it’s likely that the screen will either tear away from its frame or simply pop loose entirely.

  • Use window guards to prevent children from accidentally falling out windows. In many states, there are laws that require landlords to provide these to tenants with children under the age of 11, but not all. Check your state and local regulations regarding tenant rights. Parents who own their own home should ensure window guards are installed as well. They are not expensive, can be purchased at most local hardware stores, and are installed with relative ease.

  • Use window stops to ensure that windows cannot be opened more than three to six inches. This measure allows for fresh air to circulate in a room without the risk of falls.

  • If you absolutely have to open a window more than six inches wide, always open it from the top, not the bottom. It will be much more difficult for children to reach the top of a window than the bottom.

  • Keep pieces of furniture, especially ones that children can climb on, away from the vicinity of windows. This will prevent children from climbing near the window. Even if windows are securely locked, a child can fall from a piece of furniture right through the window, glass pane and all.

  • Talk to your children about the dangers of windows and window safety in general. Have this conversation again every summer as the temperatures rises and windows are opened, as this is the most common season for window-related injuries.
Little Boy in Bright Window

Window Blind Cords

  • If you have window blinds with cords, make sure that you secure them together with a piece of string or rubber band. This will reduce the number of cords that can be wrapped around a child’s neck.

  • Consider using scissors to cut the end of the blind cords so that they don’t reach a height that children can easily access them.

  • Take the end of the blind cords and secure them to a hook, nail, or cleat at the very top of a window. Adults should remember to secure the ends back each and every time they use the cords to open up blinds.

  • Attach a small bell to the end of window blind cords so they make a noise every time they have been moved. This will allow you to hear activity near a window even when you are not in the same room as your children.

  • Whenever possible, buy window blinds that don’t have cords. Almost every manufacturer of window blinds today sells a cordless window blind. In most cases, they are comparable in price and quality to window blinds that do have cords.

Associations and Links

  • Windows Pose Safety Risk
  • Windows Can be Hazardous
  • Consider Safety Before Opening Windows
  • Kids Can’t Fly: Window Falls Prevention
  • Kid Safety and Falls (PDF)
  • Window Guards and Stops
  • Spring is Prime Time To Consider Window Safety
  • Window Covering Safety Recall (PDF)
  • Roman Shades and Roll-Up Blinds Recalled
  • Window Covering Safety Council
  • Child Window Safety
  • Child Window Injury Prevention
  • Child Safety Devices for the Home
  • Cordless Blinds
Wood Window Blinds with Cord

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